Travel and Transport Loyalty is looking forward to a very eventful year! You can visit our loyalty professionals at the following upcoming industry events.
51st Annual Conference and Solutions Expo
June 19-22, 2018
Mega Event 2018
Long Beach, California
October 30 – Nov 2, 2018
Look for more information on each as the dates draw nearer.
Why do we go places? Why is travel so important? How do you make sure that you get a magical vacation that creates experiences and memories that will last a lifetime? As this video from ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) shows, going to a travel professional when planning your next travel experience is invaluable.
If you need to get away somewhere and have a peaceful trip – meaning adventure travel is out of the question – one excellent option is to take a cruise. People of all ages enjoy cruises, and aside from being exceptionally fun, they are a great deal and can even provide a dose of international travel for those who want to explore other cultures!
Here are the reasons that cruises make excellent leisure travel options:
Variety of locales
You can take a cruise to just about anywhere, whether you go island hopping in the Caribbean, take a river cruise down the Seine through France or explore South American ports via cruise ship. One of the best things about cruising is the great variety of options, as well as the varied locations you can travel – while only having to pack and unpack once – just by stepping off ship into port.
Varying sizes and activities
People traveling on family vacations often like taking mega-ships, which are often outfitted with multiple pools, water slides, movie theaters, rock-climbing walls and everything in-between. The days spent at sea between port stops are packed with things for children to do, while parents can relax with a good book or spend the day in the spa onboard.
Older couples might enjoy a smaller cruise ship that focuses on luxury, or river cruises that are often for adults-only. These can provide serenity, romance and unique cultural experiences that people crave.
Everyone knows that cruises offer excellent value. This is because the fares are often all-inclusive, or nearly all-inclusive. That means the cost covers activities and entertainment, lodging, meals and transportation. Typically, everything but alcoholic beverages are included. Cruises can accommodate any price point. For example, you can often find fares for under $100 per person, per night, but there are more upscale options for luxury travel that are more expensive but have a bundled price with flights, gratuities, shore tours, WiFi and beverages included.
One major plus about cruises is that you can relax from start to finish – there need not be any planning involved, except choosing your destination and purchasing your cruise package. Cruises are built around relaxation and are an excellent break for people who engage in frequent business travel and want time to decompress. Many ships have spas, ocean-view rooms and many other amenities conducive to a calm environment.
Solo travel is a trend increasing in popularity. According to the U.S. Travel Association, solo travelers make up 23% of leisure travel. My solo travel career started with a whim after my fun-in-the-sun spring break plans fell apart, leaving me on a deserted college campus. I couldn’t bear the strange dining hall hours, so I called my cousin—an accountant in the middle of an incredibly busy tax season—begged for use of her couch for a week and booked a flight to San Francisco. Since that auspicious beginning, I’ve traveled throughout the United States and to twelve other countries, frequently alone. Here are a few tips from my experiences to help you start your own solo travel lifestyle.
As a solo traveler, you don’t have to meticulously plan your days or set specific meeting times with your group. There’s no push and pull to figure out how you’re going to visit everyone’s preferred attractions, especially when the Honolulu Museum of Modern Art is on the opposite side of the island from the cove your travel partner is dying to snorkel at. Even though the solo traveler can change his or her plans readily, don’t forget that some activities require advanced purchase or there won’t even be room for little old you. Must-do activities, such as a visit to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, can often sell out weeks, if not months, in advance. Failing to plan ahead, you may be able to find last minute tickets to certain events on websites like Craigslist. As a solo traveler, you may even be more likely to score incredible last-minute deals on single tickets to sporting and theater events.
Rethink those cheap flights.
Consider the time of year during which you’re traveling. The impulse flight you booked to Stockholm was really inexpensive… because everything in the city closes at 4 p.m. in November. Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, was practically deserted, with far fewer displays than in the summer, and I spent more time in my hotel reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo than wandering the dark streets of Gamla Stan—Stockholm’s old town. If you’re a more social type, you might consider staying at a hotel in a bar district where you can meet locals or people watch. But stay aware of your surroundings. As the solo foreigner, some unscrupulous people might find you an easy target for theft or worse.
Have back-up plans.
It’s one thing to take a taxi to a small UNESCO World Heritage site outside of Sofia, Bulgaria. It’s another thing to figure out how you’re going to get a taxi back to your hostel without a cell phone, number for a taxi company or any skill in the Bulgarian language. Luckily, when you’re done admiring tenth century frescos, you can hike down the mountain until you happen upon a taxi stand. Always try to have a plan for where you will go if your destination is closed and how you will get back to wherever you’re staying.
Learn a little language.
There are plenty of podcasts and websites to teach basic, essential phrases to the global traveler. While most international tourist destinations have plenty of English-speakers, a little language can go a long way. When a souvenir vendor near the Eiffel Tower tried to convince me that he didn’t speak English, I pieced my question together in broken French. Maybe not everyone needs to learn, “Do you sell snowglobes,” but “hello” and “thank you” make a huge difference, especially if you step off the beaten path.
Eat like a foodie.
I’m the food-apathetic traveler who wants to eat at the Oldest Restaurant in Europe (Piwnica Swidnicka, Wroclaw, Poland), regardless of the Yelp reviews. However, on a trip to Barcelona, I took recommendations from a friend and dined on the best food of my life. Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi architecture were amazing, but if I go back to Barcelona, it will be for the tapas. It can be awkward to eat alone—like when I entered a nearly-empty restaurant in Stockholm and they almost didn’t seat me because, despite their perfect command of English, the staff could not comprehend that I really didn’t have anyone to eat with. If you really can’t bear to eat alone, browse traveler forums for dinner dates. In Budapest, I met up with a friend of a friend in the evenings for delicious meals and to explore the famous “ruin pubs.”
Embrace your experiences.
Some activities are harder to do alone than others. Bathing in the Szechenyi Baths of Budapest is an iconic experience for the visitor to Hungary. When you have those opportunities, don’t back out when you encounter a nearly incomprehensible check-in process or because you don’t think you’re rocking your speedo as well as the elderly locals. Get in, find a good vantage point, people watch and focus on the being in the moment. And—whatever you do—don’t be that guy who cannonballs in, splashing everyone, then yell, “Sorry! I’m an American!” You know who you are.
Let someone know your general itinerary. Do your research about the location ahead of time. If you’re traveling abroad, consider purchasing a phone plan that works internationally. Look up the local equivalent to 9-1-1, and register your visit with your embassy in that country. When I was traveling abroad frequently, I used my Kindle’s free 3G connection and experimental browser to access my Google Voice number so I could text occasional updates to family back home. Finally, consider booking through a travel agency so you have someone on your side in the case of an emergency.
Ready to make the solo-travel leap? Call one of our experienced travel advisors to find a trip suited for you. Already an adept solo traveler? Share some of your tips and stories in the comments below or on Twitter.
- Hanauma Bay – taken by Ben Ferenchak – used with Creative Commons License
- Alcatraz – taken by blogarazzo – used with Creative Commons License
- Piwnica Swidnicka – taken by Klearchos Kapoutsis – used with Creative Commons License
- Szechenyi Baths, Budapest – taken by Karen Blaha – used with Creative Commons License
Get more at Insights.TravelandTransport.com
By now, you’ve heard the news that, in a close and historic vote, citizens of the United Kingdom have chosen to leave the European Union. The Brexit, as the referendum has been nicknamed, will not happen immediately. It will take at least a couple of years until the UK has completely left the EU. Still, the process will begin and the world has taken notice – particularly the financial markets.
What will this mean for travelers? How will it affect business travel? What will change? What will remain the same? There are many uncertainties and a lot of questions that still need to be answered. We’ve collected information from some of the most trusted sources to give you some insight about what this could mean for you if you’re planning international travel soon.
How will US travelers be affected by Brexit?
In the short term, your dollar will stretch a lot farther. Will hotels and airlines adjust to this change? It’s a little too soon to tell, however Money offers some ideas about how Brexit might change travel to the UK and to mainland Europe. CNN also has a great guide to Brexit and the implications it has for just about everyone in the world.
How will UK travelers be affected by Brexit?
“There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold,” stated British Prime Minister David Cameron after the referendum. While it’s true that little should change in the short term, there is one expensive exception: the British Pound Sterling, the UK’s currency, has fallen considerably. The BBC tells us how this will affect UK Citizens.
British low cost carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair (which is Irish but operates heavily within the UK) have stated that the days of cheap fares between the UK and the rest of Europe could be numbered.
In addition, Scotland and Northern Ireland voters overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU – and there are uncertainties on whether these countries will work towards independence from the United Kingdom in order to remain members of the EU.
It’s far too early to know all of the changes that may happen. The BBC has a page of frequently asked questions that UK citizens are having, such as “Will I need a new passport?”, “Will I need a visa to travel to EU countries?” and perhaps most importantly, “How much French and Italian wine can I bring back into the country?”. The answers to most of these questions seem to be that nothing will change immediately and more details will emerge as discussions and negotiations occur between the British government, the EU and its member countries.
What do you think? How will the Brexit affect you? Will you plan a vacation to London or Edinburgh in the near future to take advantage of the exchange rate? How will it affect global commerce? What impact do you think it will have on business travel? Let us know on Twitter @TandTNews.
This step will not only help you get through security faster, it will also help security lines decrease overall and afford the TSA more time to focus on high risk travelers. You’ll be doing everyone a favor!
Airlines are helping
Some airlines have taken steps to minimize long lines. Delta Air Lines has implemented new security line enhancements in their Atlanta hub that include distributing lines across multiple “divestment points” that allow more travelers to get through security simultaneously. They’ve also introduced automated bin return systems. Delta claims that security lines will move approximately 30% faster with these new enhancements.
United has also redesigned security checkpoints at major airports such as Newark and Chicago O’Hare, and they’ve added and redeployed staff in key areas to better serve travelers going through security. They’ve also updated baggage processes to meet security and safety requirements. Read more about this at United’s website.
Stick to your booked flights as much as possible this summer. With airline load factors at record highs, availability on other flights could prove to be difficult to come by and could increase your airfare cost considerably. If you don’t have to make a change, it will be best not to.
Travel and Transport can help!
If you’re a Travel and Transport customer, you might notice that we have updated our upcoming trip notifications to advise travelers to arrive early and anticipate delays. In addition, our Dash Mobile app features live airport wait times that can give travelers a great indication of when they need to leave for the airport.
Travel and Transport is excited to announce the latest release to our Dash Mobile app: Dash Mobile 2.11.
In this release, we have added enhanced airport maps! Dash Mobile now provides indoor terminal maps for the most popular airports around the world. Found in the ‘Services’ tab of Dash Mobile, this feature provides maps and tips to help you navigate an unfamiliar airport.
Enhanced airport maps are available in the iOS version of Dash Mobile. Look for this functionality will be added to Android soon!
Last year at GBTA Convention 2015, Travel and Transport announced our big data solution, which aggregates expense data and card data with back-office data with many other streams of travel, financial and other data to produce visualizations and predictive metrics that will give travel managers better decision making ability. We have been working hard on this revolutionary system and are excited to show it off at GBTA Convention 2016 in Denver. Look for more updates as we get closer to the event and be sure to visit us in person if you’re attending!
Whether you live alone or you have a house full of children, staying connected to what’s going on at home while you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away can be a challenge. Everybody has a handle on the tools like Skype and Facetime that help you communicate with friends and family while traveling, but what about managing the security of your home – or just knowing what’s going on while you’re away? How do you make sure that deliveries are put in the right spot when you aren’t there to bring them inside?
Things like weigh on everyone’s minds when they’re away from home. New technology tools can help us keep an eye on what’s going on when we leave the house each day. Here are a few of them:
Ring Video Doorbell
Ring is a doorbell that connects to your home internet connection and let’s you know via your smartphone when somebody’s at the door – wherever you’re at in the world. Its built-in camera and motion detectors will detect any activity around your door, and you’re even able to communicate with the person at the door. It’s great for telling delivery people where to put your package, or for making it seem like you’re at home to someone who may have intentions of breaking in – even if you’re on the other side of the world. Video of activity caught by Ring’s wide angle camera is saved to the cloud so that you can review it and save it when needed. People have used Ring to identify burglars. Others have used it to make sure their teenagers aren’t coming home too late. However you think you’ll use it, Ring is a pretty interesting home automation tool that can really help people when they aren’t at home. It costs between $199 and $249 depending on the model you choose and installation is pretty simple.
Phillips Hue lights
There are lots of expensive and hard to manage security systems on the market. Canary is a little different. It’s a cylindrical device with a camera on it that sits in your house and keeps an eye on things. It automatically activates when you (or others in your home) leave the house and will turn off when you get home. When Canary detects activity, it will alert you via your smartphone. You’ll be able to see video of what was detected and then you can choose to alert authorities and/or sound a 90 dB alarm. That’s pretty loud and should scare an intruder off in a hurry.
Canary also lets you randomly check in on what’s going on in your house while you’re away. You can activate the camera to check on kids, pets, contractors or whatever you’ve got going on in your home. It will also monitor things like air quality, temperature and humidity.
Canary costs $199 for a single device. You can add additional devices that will work together if you’ve got a larger home. The basic plan is free, but you can add more video storage and additional monthly downloads for between $5 and $30 a month.
Home automation tools like Ring, Phillips Hue and Canary can really be of help to you in managing what’s going on in your home while you’re not there. Do you use any of these tools? What do you think of them? Let us know on Twitter!
Look for other technologies that will help travelers manage their homes while they’re not in them in future posts, including smart locks, thermostats and more.
The sharing economy continues to be a big topic of discussion in the business travel community. Services like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and others are certainly disrupting the ground transportation and lodging markets. One recent study from expense reporting provider Certify showed they surpassed car rental and taxis in terms of spend for the first quarter of 2016. Numerous other studies show that these services are certainly on the increase in terms of popularity.
With this in mind, Travel and Transport decided to find out what our clients thought. We polled 60 travel managers and over 200 travelers from some of our top clients. While far from scientific, we did obtain some interesting feedback regarding where sharing economy services fit into managed business travel programs right now – and some insight on how that might change in the future.
What level of interest is there for sharing economy services among travelers? Do corporate travel policies address these services? Does safety play a role in the decision to use services like Uber, Lyft or Airbnb? What about customer loyalty programs? Check out our infographic to find out what we learned.
Have any thoughts or insights regarding the sharing economy? Do factors like safety, cost and loyalty programs play a role in your selection process? Let us know on Twitter @TandTNews or send us a message. We’d love to hear from you!
If you’re interested in seeing the raw data and direct (anonymous) feedback we received in PDF format, just fill out this quick form below.